Non-conference success shows battle for Big 12 could be dogfight
01/03/2014 4:19 PM
11/12/2014 3:36 PM
1 Iowa State (12-0) Hard to quible with the No. 13 Cyclones, who’ve beaten Michigan, BYU, Auburn and Iowa during an undefeated non-conference run.
2 Oklahoma State (12-1) The sixth-ranked Cowboys lone loss was to No. 18 Memphis but they have impressive wins over Butler, Purdue and No. 20 Colorado. They’ll be without post Michael Cobbins who went down with a season-ending injury last week.
3 Baylor (11-1) The No. 9 Bears upset then-No. 3 Kentucky at AT&T Stadium on Dec. 6 and have won five consecutive games. Their only setback was a close loss to No. 2 Syracuse.
4 Kansas (9-3) Few teams have played a tougher non-conference than the No. 16 Jayhawks, who have wins over Duke, Wake Forest and Georgetown. KU’s three losses were to top 20 teams Florida, Colorado and Villanova.
5 Texas (11-2) The Longhorns took a 14-point loss at home to No. 5 Michigan State but pulled out gutsy wins at No. 19 North Carolina and Temple.
6 Oklahoma (11-2) The Sooners are a tough team to gauge entering league play. They’ve taken care of business for the most part, but lost to Michigan State in November and lost by 14 at home to Louisiana Tech in their non-conference finale.
7 TCU (9-3) The Horned Frogs are another tough nut to crack. No question they’re improved from a year ago with some talented freshman stepping up big. The return of Amric Fields from injury in time for league play adds to TCU’s hopes of turning some heads.
8 Kansas State (10-3) The Wildcats are receiving some AP Top 25 votes after winning seven in a row, including wins against No. 24 Gonzaga and George Washington.
9 West Virginia (8-5) All five of the Mountaineer’s losses are to solid programs, including three in the top 25. WVU played No. 4 Wisconsin close in late November.
10 Texas Tech (8-5) Most of the Red Raiders’ losses have come against the likes of No. 1 Arizona, LSU, Pittsburgh and Arizona State, who have a combined five losses.
— Stefan Stevenson
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